Caleb King story doesn't have a happy ending

When Caleb King was in high school, you couldn't go a day without reading some type of story online, or in the paper, about how great he was and how great he was going to be.

When Georgia landed the Greater Atlanta Christian star running back, who had also spent time at Parkview, the Bulldog Nation had plenty to celebrate, and with good reason. Recruiting gurus had him labeled as a five-star prospect. You really can't get much better than that.

Translation, he was a can't miss, blue-chip stud.

King was supposed to be one of the greats in a long line of great running backs to come out of Georgia. First stop Athens, next stop the NFL.

Sure, the NFL gig could still happen for King, but it's been a bumpy road at Georgia, and it officially ended Friday when the NCAA declared him ineligible to play his senior year.

Simply put, King's days in Athens are over. There's no chance he will ever wear the Red and Black again. After several chances, he can't redeem himself this time.

He's already been redshirted, so this fall was his last chance to make good on all that potential, and boy there was potential.

In just 29 games with the Bulldogs, he rushed for 1,271 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. He averaged more than five yards per carry.

It could have been even better, but too many minor brushes with the law and academic distractions kept the running back out of at least 10 games. He was not there for Georgia's Liberty Bowl loss to Central Florida last December because he missed appointments with academic advisors, .

How do you miss a meeting you know you are required to make?

King let down his teammates and fans because of his carelessness.

"It's unfortunate Caleb will not be with us this season," Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "We wish him the best in whatever he decides to do; however, we have to move forward and this will provide more opportunities for others to step up."

King's departure leaves a huge void in the Georgia backfield. Since the end of last season, running back Washaun Ealey has also left Athens.

But this is not about depth charts and who is going to be starting for the Bulldogs at running back when they open the season against Boise State. The Georgia coaching staff will find somebody to step in.

This, in my opinion, is about a system of perceived entitlement.

King and other high profile athletes are told from the very beginning just how good they are. They are treated like athletic gods.

It starts when some of them are as young as eight, the moment we find out they have a God-given ability to catch the football, shoot the basketball or hit the baseball.

When we put these kids so high on a pedestal, they are blinded by misconception. They think running fast, scoring touchdowns or dunking a basketball is the magic elixir to solving all their problems.

For some, it could be, but when most find out the real world doesn't operate that way, there are problems, and as tragic as it is, King seemed to fall into that category.

He just didn't take care of business off the football field.

Sure, as a friend on Facebook reminded me, there are thousands of student athletes who get it when it comes to their college education, and that's great.

But it's the Caleb Kings of the world who tarnish the system. They take their college education for granted and throw it back in the face of the rest of us, and that's the tragic part of the whole story, and maybe, just maybe, we are all to blame.

Somehow, we need to teach these kids about responsibility. That there is more to life than being a football hero, worshiped by 1,000, who in reality only care about you if you beat Florida, or help your team to a SEC title. Perhaps we have failed to do that.

The final Caleb King chapter has been written at Georgia, and there's nothing funny about it.

One thing is for sure, it doesn't have a very happy ending.

Doug Gorman is the sports editor of the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He came be reached at dgorman@news-daily.com.